what is the best finish for outdoor cedar furniture

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Cedar furniture has been a popular choice for outdoor use since it has a natural resistance to moisture, decay, and insect damage. But in order to maintain its beautiful appearance, it needs to be finished properly. There are several finishes available for cedar furniture, but not all of them are suitable for outdoor use. In this article, we will discuss the best finish for outdoor cedar furniture.

The Importance of a Good Finish

A good finish not only enhances the appearance of the furniture but also protects it from the damaging effects of the weather. Outdoor furniture is exposed to sunlight, rain, snow, and extreme temperature changes. Without a proper finish, cedar furniture will turn grayish-silver and will be susceptible to cracks, splinters, and warping. A good finish will protect the furniture from water damage, harmful UV rays, and insects.

The Best Finishes for Outdoor Cedar Furniture

There are several finishes that are suitable for outdoor use on cedar furniture, such as oil-based finishes, water-based finishes, and varnishes. The best ones are:1. Oil-Based FinishOil-based finishes penetrate the wood deeply and provide a long-lasting protection against weathering. They enhance the natural beauty of the cedar and give it a warm glow. Oil-based finishes are easy to apply and maintain. They are available in different degrees of shine, from matte to high gloss. However, they take longer to dry than other finishes.2. Water-Based FinishWater-based finishes are eco-friendly and odorless. They dry quickly and provide a good protective barrier against moisture and UV rays. They are available in different levels of sheen, from satin to high gloss. Water-based finishes do not yellow with age and are easy to clean. However, they are not as durable as oil-based finishes.3. Spar VarnishSpar varnish is a marine-grade finish that is specifically designed for outdoor use. It is a clear, protective coating that provides a high level of resistance against moisture, sunlight, and saltwater. It gives the cedar furniture a glossy finish and enhances the natural wood grain. Spar varnish is available in different levels of gloss, from satin to high gloss. However, it is more difficult to apply than other finishes and requires more maintenance.


Choosing the right finish for outdoor cedar furniture is essential for its durability and appearance. Oil-based finishes, water-based finishes, and spar varnish are the best options for outdoor use. They all provide protection against weathering, enhance the natural beauty of the wood, and are easy to apply and maintain. When choosing a finish, consider the level of shine, durability, and ease of application. A well-finished cedar furniture will last for many years and provide a comfortable and stylish outdoor space.


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